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How to acclimatise LVT flooring

The acclimatisation and temperature control process is key to the successful fitting of an LVT floor. It is designed to ensure that the product is stable and free of movement throughout both the fitting process, and after fitting while the adhesive sets - lasting a minimum of five full days and nights. This guide will tell you more about how to acclimatise LVT flooring.

10 min read

31st Oct 23

light grey stone effect lvt flooring in kitchen

Handling and storage - pre-acclimatisation phase.

On arrival of your new LVT flooring, it’s important to firstly remove any shipping packaging (including the pallet if a palletised shipment) and to store cartons away from direct sunlight on a firm, flat surface, in neat stacks, not overhanging and never on their sides or vertically. They should be stored indoors above 6°C and no warmer than 35°C, in a dry, damp-free environment. The ideal storage temperature is between 15°C and 25°C.

Pre-fitting phase - begins at least 48 hours before fitting.

The ambient temperature of the room where the tiles will be fitted should be set somewhere between 18ºC and 27ºC (ideally around 22ºC) and the floor temperature should be above 15ºC. Two days before fitting (minimum 48 hours) the packs of flooring should be placed flat in small stacks on the dry floor around the room, avoiding cold or hot spots and shielding from direct sunlight. This allows time for the tiles to fully acclimatise to the room temperature and to recover their shape from any small distortions picked up during or on their journey to you. During this process they will be moving as they adjust their size and shape, but after the 48 hours they will stop moving and be ready for fitting.

In most circumstances, establishing the correct floor and room temperature will be straightforward through management of the heating, shading and ventilation systems, and after 48 hours, the tiles will have settled and be in harmony with the room environment.

Fitting phase - stay acclimatised

During the time while the tiles are being fitted, it is important that the ambient room and floor temperatures, established during the pre-fitting phase, are maintained. Rapid temperature fluctuation must be avoided and the temperature kept stable within a 5ºC window and always within the minimum/maximum limits.

Take steps to reduce the peaks and troughs of the daily temperature cycle. For example, use ventilation and shading from sunlight to prevent the build up of excess daytime heat, and gently warm the room when necessary to maintain the stable room temperature through colder nighttime hours.

Post-fitting phase - keep control

Once the tiles are laid it’s essential that these same room conditions are maintained for a further 48-72 hours while the adhesive cures. If a stable environment isn’t achieved, then there’s a significant risk that tiles will expand or contract, essentially creating pressure as the tile fights against the adhesive that’s trying to hold it in place, putting at risk the flatness and integrity of the tiles.

Top tips on how to acclimatise LVT flooring

From time to time, stabilising the room conditions and temperature may require additional measures, particularly in more challenging conditions:

  • Overnight temperatures can drop dramatically, so it’s important to take measures to ensure that the daytime temperature is maintained through the night time. Allowing the tiles to cool overnight and warm up and expand during the day must be avoided.
  • Construction sites – it can be a challenge to maintain a stable temperature especially in cold and draughty environments when temperatures can dip dramatically overnight if a room is unheated. Space heating is likely to be required to maintain a stable temperature, or else it may be necessary to fit the floor further into the construction project. Ideally LVT fitting should be the last trade on site.
  • Cold or hot spots in the room will affect the product temperature e.g. avoid acclimatising in draughty/ cold corridors, and always shade from direct sunlight to prevent solar gain.
  • Temperatures in rooms with floor to ceiling windows will often experience larger swings in temperature, being higher in daytime while plunging at night. Take care to maintain a stable temperature, using shading, ventilation and heating systems.
  • Consider the floor temperature; in cold buildings it will usually take longer for the floor temperature to adjust than the ambient room temperature; in summer months, the temperature of an unshielded floor in direct sunlight can become much higher than the ambient room temperature.
  • A newly screeded subfloor will take some time to dry from just a few hours, if it’s a quick drying levelling compound, to several weeks/months for a newly constructed concrete slab. Flooring cannot be acclimatised on a damp floor, so allow time in the schedule for the subfloor to dry prior to commencing acclimatisation. We recommend that subfloor manufacturers and/or building regulation guidelines are followed correctly and that high quality damp meters are used to test the efficacy of preparation.
  • Any underfloor heating should be switched off throughout the acclimatisation and fitting process (read full fitting instructions for more advice) so alternative methods to maintain the required temperature should be considered.
  • Acclimatisation can only be achieved in the room where the floor is to be fitted ie. flooring cannot be brought to site in an acclimatised condition, and acclimatisation cannot be rushed – tiles must not be heated up artificially (e.g. being placed on a radiator or with a heat gun) and instead must be allowed time to adjust slowly to the ambient temperature around them.

For further information read our in-depth guide explaining why LVT flooring needs to acclimatise before being fitted.

lvt flooring installation in luxury bathroom with green floor tiles

Acclimatisation FAQs

Why do I need to acclimatise LVT flooring?

The inherent flexibility of LVT floors makes them beautifully warm underfoot, super-durable and easy to cut. This flexibility also means that unlike ceramic or stone tiles, LVT won’t crack or shatter if they are poorly transported – instead LVT products will simply absorb any stresses through bending or twisting. Acclimatisation is the process that allows time once they arrive on site for the tiles to regain their shape in case they have been subject to any of these stresses, and to adjust to the room temperature, before they are fitted.

Why do I have to wait so long to acclimatise LVT flooring?

It can take time for a room temperature to settle and for tiles to adjust to the room conditions. If the tiles or planks are moving because they are either expanding or contracting while they are being fitted, this movement risks destabilising the adhesive bond as it dries which could cause the tiles to lift up.

How do I maintain the exact room temperature for 5 to 6 days?

The temperature should be set at a point between 18ºc and 27ºc – the sweet spot is around 22ºc. It’s not absolutely necessary (or even possible) to maintain the exact same temperature, but the temperature should be kept as constant as possible. Over the period of fitting and for 72 hours after fitting the temperature must not be allowed to deviate by more than 5ºc. And sudden or large changes must be avoided.

Can I acclimatise the flooring elsewhere and then bring them to site?

The tiles can only be properly acclimatised on site – the very process of moving the tiles from one location to another can itself cause stresses and temperature adjustments, so the flooring can only be acclimatised within the temperature-controlled room where it is to be fitted.

Do I need to allow for expansion gaps?

A feature of glue-down LVT floors is that there’s no need for the types of expansion gaps that you’ll see in other types of flooring, such as click systems that aren’t firmly bonded to the subfloor. With dry-back LVT floors, once the adhesive cures, it will hold the tiles firmly in place preventing any movements when room temperatures change meaning that expansion gaps are not required for LVT flooring. If a building has structural expansion joints then the floorcovering should not bridge the joints.

How do I acclimatise the tiles in the room when the screed is still damp?

The tiles need to be placed flat on a dry floor in the room where they are to be fitted for the full 48 hours prior to fitting. The floor surface must not be damp so it’s important that the moisture levels in the subfloor are within acceptable limits prior to the commencement of acclimatisation. Always allow any smoothing compounds to dry properly before acclimatising your new LVT floor.

Top tips on how to lay LVT flooring

Read full guide